Here is the story of how Mr Theo entered the world. I wanted to document mostly all of the details hence why this blog is so long. My labour and delivery experience went for a total of 22 hours from the first early contraction to Theo being born. However from what the hospital classed “labour” as, It was only 3 hours total and pretty intense at the end. So here it is, Enjoy my painful but magically extraordinary experience below.
Early Labour (0-4cm dilated) The longest part for me.
It was 4am on July 23rd when a new type of pain woke me up, it just felt different. It was a deeper sort of pain and it wrapped around my whole abdomen and radiated through to my back. I tried to get comfortable and go back to sleep but as I was just dozing off another one came along, I knew this was it! I started timing the pains and they were around 10 minutes apart. I couldn’t sleep as I think I was excited that we could actually be meeting our baby soon! However, I knew that it can take a long time so I decided to finish off the last season of Gilmore Girls which I had begun from the start a few weeks back, and I was adamant that I needed to finish it before my time was taken up with a new baby!
My contractions stayed around 10 minutes apart up until I woke my Hubby up around 7am and they then started to get closer together (very slowly) as the day progressed. I wanted things to progress faster though! So I went over to one of my sister in law’s house with my hubby and we all went on a 3km walk or in my case a 3km stop and start waddle (which felt to me like it went forever!) While I was working through my contractions my darling Hubby was catching Pokémon, (thanks for the support babe, haha) All good though, he made up for it later on.
I was told by the hospital to not come in until my contractions were 3 minutes apart, 1 minute long and lasting over an hour or if I couldn’t handle the pain anymore. I knew I possibly had a few more hours in me before we could head into the hospital so we had one last attempted nap before the two of us were to become 3! I was woken up from my attempted siesta with slightly stronger contractions and they were around 3-4 minutes apart, woohoo!! At this stage they were painful but not horrible, I did have to focus on breathing through them. I was so proud of myself and actually said to Hubby “this isn’t that bad, I can totally do this, other women must just exaggerate about the pain” but little did I know what was about to hit me in a few hours time! So off we went to drop our dog off to my MIL, I had a quick sandwich to eat, rang up my midwife to say we were about to head in and off we went.
When I arrived my midwife checked me. I was fully effaced but only 2 centimetres dilated, she told me I technically wasn’t in labour yet. I was really annoyed! How could I be having painful contractions every 3 minutes but not even be in labour! Luckily I knew my midwife and she was in charge on the night so said I could stay if I wanted to as the birthing suites were empty. I took that offer and I’m so glad I did as things got ugly pretty fast.
Within an hour the contractions stepped up their game. They were the kind where I couldn’t move, I couldn’t talk and just had to freeze and let it pass. Early on I had made the decision to push back any sort of pain relief as far as a could as I wanted to try for a natural drug free birth. I tried rocking and rolling on a medicine ball but that just made me feel worse, I wasn’t a fan of that method at all. The pain from here started to get really bad but my stubborn self pushed away any pain relief (including gas & air), I wanted to see if I could do it on my own, I had been mentally preparing for months in advance for this event and I didn’t want to cave.
Cue crazy shakes, projectile vomiting and diarrhoea, how lovely! I just remember yelling to chuck me the vomit bag as I was about to hurl, and that I did. I then bolted for the toilet and I think I spent a good half hour in the bathroom with who knows what coming out both ends at the same time. I never knew this was a common occurrence in labour! Hence why I am sharing this beautiful information with you. The midwife said my body was in shock from the pain and it was also flushing everything out ready to give birth. I’m glad everything evacuated at that point, As I didn’t poo when pushing, woohoo!!
Active Labour (4-7cm dilated)
My vomiting and diarrhea had finally stopped, Thank the lord!! I then decided that I needed to mentally focus and really try to enjoy the experience. It was really hard, but I’m glad I did. My midwife came in and could see I was struggling with the pain so she suggested I utilise the shower, sit on the birthing ball and have Hubby hold the shower head over where ever I needed it, so that’s exactly what we did. My Hubby was so brilliant, he held that shower head on my back for 3 hours straight (as that was where most of my pain was) and he didn’t complain (luckily). I made him keep the heat of the water extremely high, he kept telling me that it was too hot but I honestly didn’t notice, I guess because you know, my uterus and back literally felt like they were being stabbed/squeezed/pulled and set on fire all at the same time. The heat from the shower made my back bright red and slightly blistered (check out my lower back in the photo below) but honestly that was a relief from the contractions I was experiencing.
I had my midwife turn down the lights and had Hubby put on my labour playlist which contained relaxation music & worship songs which helped me relax but also motivated me and helped me feel empowered to get through it. For the next 3 hours that is where I sat. That little corner of the shower was my zen, my happy place, the one position I felt any relief. When a contraction began I grabbed onto that bar for dear life and focused all of my pain into it. I tried to relax everywhere else, as I had heard this was the best way to progress faster. I couldn’t just deep breath through these contractions anymore I worked through them with a sort of dolphin/cow moan, hilarious when I think back but at the time that’s all I could do. With each contraction I envisioned a wave crashing over me, going under the water and then as it eased off I came back up for a breath. It sounds a little crazy but it really helped me get through. I also kept reminding myself that every contraction was bringing baby closer and I just had to get through one at a time.
At around 11pm I was checked again and I was now 4-5cm dilated. We were cheering that I was finally “technically” in labour and also that my Mum arrived so she could take over Ben’s shower holding duty. I chose to have my Mum there because she just tells it how it is and guides me to do what needs to be done. She is also a nurse which was helpful and I loved having her there to experience her baby having a baby. My Hubby gets a little woozy with blood and seeing me in pain so I needed that extra support and plus I loved sharing the experience with them both.
Transitional Phase (7-10 cm dilated)
So after a little more time in my happy place my Mum kindly suggested that I should get off of my birthing ball, out of the shower and take a stroll to move things along, and that it did. Pretty much as soon as I stood up off the ball I couldn’t move. The contractions were rolling on one after the other and it they were excruciating!! I think if I had someone saw off my arm I wouldn’t even notice. In between quietly screaming for some relief and letting everyone know I couldn’t do it anymore I finally lost my mucus plug (the big glug of gooey blood and mess) and things started to get interesting. My midwife offered sterile water injections, which is just literally water that gets injected into the skin on your back and boy do they sting! However it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the back pain I was already experiencing. Almost immediately the back pain disappeared but then all of the pain was felt in the front.
At this point I was still leaning over the bed from getting the needles and then my body started to automatically push. The midwife quickly checked me and said I was at 8-9cm and I needed to stop pushing as I wasn’t fully dilated yet, but I wasn’t pushing it was just automatic. She could feel my waters were bulging so she got out of the way and whooooshhh, my waters went (just missing her by a few centimetres!) It was like in the movies, huge!! There was meconium (baby poo) in my waters, which is sometimes a sign of distress from the baby so they put a monitor on and soon realised his heart was dropping from 140bpm to 80bpm with every contraction. I didn’t have a clue what was going on as I was focusing on trying not to die and not to push, which was so hard! The next minute I looked up and there were what felt like a hundred people rushing in and the doctor telling me baby needs to come out now as he/she was in distress.. They started to prep me for a C – section just incase the baby didn’t come out fast enough but first tried other options which I’m so glad they did. She attached the vacuum to the head (not a literal household vacuum, which is what I thought!) and let me know that when I push she will pull.
It’s was now time to push! It was kind of relief from the constant dreaded contractions and I felt like I could put those nasty pains to use now, finally! I remember my Mum as well as the Lady doctor and midwives encouraging me to push through my bum like I was doing a poo. I remember having my Hubby by my side with me through it all, he tells me now he was super anxious and he didn’t realise he was squeezing my head from the stress of it all (which I didn’t feel him doing) I pushed for 25 minutes which is pretty fast and then that horrible ring of fire appeared and I was told that baby’s head was nearly out and to stop pushing and just take little breaths. Check out my full on ‘pushing’ face and ‘little breath’ face below. They aren’t the most flattering pics but come on, I was pushing a child out!
Out popped his head and one push and 5 minutes later he was born!! I wanted to do delayed cord clamping but when he came out he wasn’t breathing and dark blue as the cord was wrapped around his neck a couple of times as he had been doing twirls on his way down (hence the excruciating back pain & his heart rate dropping) They cut the cord immediately and they took him to the table and thankfully he took a big breath and that’s when we heard him cry for the first time, it was magical.
We didn’t find out the gender the whole pregnancy so when they placed him on my chest my Hubby told me he was a boy! It was such a special feeling and I am so glad we did it that way. I had an inkling the whole way through he was a boy and I was right! I looked to Hubby and said “Theodore?” We both agreed and that was it. We named him Theodore Benjamin Winter, he was 7p8o , 56cm long and born at 2.05am on the 24th July 2016. He was, is and will always be perfect.
Giving birth is the most painful but magically extraordinary journey I think I will ever experience. It’s a rollercoaster of pain and emotion but when it’s all over and done with and you get to see and hold that precious miracle baby that you just grew inside you, the memory of the pain fades and you have a precious baby to love, and that’s when the real journey begins.